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Men's hoops hopes to snap losing skid, hosts EMU Saturday

Los Angeles, Cal., junior Malik Muhammad reacts to a foul call against Kent State Tuesday, Jan. 12, in McGuirk arena.

After three-straight Mid-American Conference losses, Central Michigan's men’s basketball team looks to end its losing skid Saturday afternoon in McGuirk Arena against in-state rival Eastern Michigan.

CMU enters Saturday's contest 5-7 overall and 1-4 in the conference, just over two weeks after knocking off the Eagles (4-4, 1-3 MAC) 87-60 on Dec. 29 in Ypsilanti, the Chippewas lone conference victory this season.

After dropping two-straight to MAC favorite Bowling Green and a home loss to Kent State, head coach Keno Davis is optimistic entering the final game of a three-game homestand.

“We were able to pull away from them down in Ypsilanti,” Davis said. “We’re going to have to match their intensity and play well to be able to get a win.”

The Chippewas own the all-time series 100-96 but have dropped 7 of the last 10 meetings to EMU. 

Chippewa freshman Aundre Polk, who has missed the previous three games due to an undisclosed injury, is considered day-to-day with his status for Saturday’s game undetermined. The Detroit native currently ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage (.593) and sixth in blocks (8).

CMU enters Saturday’s game third in the MAC in scoring offense per game (80.8) and last in points allowed per game (77.7). The Chippewas rank second in the conference in steals per contest (8.92), trailing only the Eagles (10.5) for the top spot in the MAC. 

Senior guard Travon Broadway Jr. ranks ninth in the MAC in scoring with 16.1 points per game. Fellow senior guard Devontae Lane ranks second in the conference in steals (21) and ninth in assists (36). 

EMU enters its fifth MAC game of the season ranking ninth in the conference in rebound margin (-0.9), 10th in shooting percentage (.428) and 11th in 3-point percentage (.306). The Eagles lead the conference in turnover margin (5.75).

Junior guard Bryce McBride top all EMU players averaging 14.4 points and 3.25 assists per game. The Jackson, Tennessee, native scored 15 points in the first matchup against the Chippewas, shooting 28 percent from the floor and missing all 6 of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Senior forward Ty Groce averages 14 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. The Ypsilanti native, whose .568 shooting percentage ranks fourth in the MAC, earned his first double-double of the season against CMU, scoring 15 points and snagging 13 rebounds before fouling out after 32 minutes. 

The Eagles knocked off Calvin College 67-56 on Thursday in Ypsilanti and fell to Toledo 96-63 on the road on Tuesday. 

CMU begins a four-game road trip against Toledo on Jan. 19 (7 p.m.) and Akron on Jan. 19 (time TBA).